Brown adipose tissue in humans: Therapeutic potential to combat obesity

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Abstract

Harnessing the considerable capacity of brown adipose tissue (BAT) to consume energy was first proposed as a potential target to control obesity nearly 40 years ago. The plausibility of this approach was, however, questioned due to the prevailing view that BAT was either not present or not functional in adult humans. Recent definitive identification of functional BAT in adult humans as well as a number of important advances in the understanding of BAT biology has reignited interest in BAT as an anti-obesity target. Proof-of-concept evidence demonstrating drug-induced BAT activation provides an important foundation for development of targeted pharmacological approaches with clinical application. This review considers evidence from both human and relevant animal studies to determine whether harnessing BAT for the treatment of obesity via pharmacological intervention is a realistic goal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
Volume140
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adaptive thermogenesis
  • BAT
  • Beige adipose
  • Brite
  • Brown adipose
  • Obesity

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